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Small border at the front of the house

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Question from Wendy


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Hi, I would like to redo the heather bed at the front of our house with something more attractive and to hide the brickwork behind. The border is shaped like an elongated triangle measuring 11' 10" in breadth (left to right). It then narrows from the left at 4' 8" to the middle at 3' 10" and the righthand side being 2' 7". I want to take out the heather and replace it with maybe a conifer and some evergreen shrubs of different colours to make it more attractive. The border is east facing and there is a gravel pathway between the border and the house. I look forward to hearing any suggestions you may have. Many thanks, Wendy

Small border at the front of the house

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  • Views: 1582
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Tue. 7th April 2009 15:47

Shade tolerant plants with scent and summer flowers.

Reply from Matt Nichol

Hi Wendy

With the wide end I would use the opportunity to give some height, what goes up generally goes out, so something like Viburnum'Summer Snowflake' would give you a lovely structure at one end which you could underplant with early flowering ground cover or bulbs. Three medium sized evergreens like Skimmia, Sarcococca confusa, Pieris or Daphne 'Argentiomarginata' would give some lower structure taking you down in height to maybe some perennials or sedges, like Hemerocallis or Carex buchanii Then at the end you could go back up again in height with an accent plant like a Phormium 'Tricolour' underplanted with ground cover like Polygonum Dargeling Red. A climber on the wall like Parthenocissus henryana would be self clinging and easy to keep in check.

This would give you a complete change to what you had before, lots of seasonal interest , just as easy to look after as a conifer and much more interesting.

Matt Nichol MSGD

  • Posted: Wed. 8th April 2009 19:47

Small shady border

Reply from Wendy

Hi Matt
Many thanks for your ideas and quite different to what I had in mind. The shrubs you mention are among some of my favorites, particularly the Viburnum and Sarcococca and I also like the idea of a climber on the wall behind. Can't wait to get started.
Thanks again,

  • Posted: Fri. 10th April 2009 10:01


Reply from Matt Nichol

Really glad you like the ideas obviously out your own twist on things and remember for the smaller plants try plantig a minimum of three together to get impact rather than 'cottage' it is a modern building, respond with bolder blocks of underplanting.

Don't forget to post some photos...maybe for the next forum!!


  • Posted: Fri. 10th April 2009 10:46